Wisconsin National Guard to help staff primary polling sites

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will be assisting with polling site operations across the state for the upcoming primary on April 7, according to a press release.

In March, Governor Tony Evers activated the guard as part of a public health emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission requested assistance for the Guard to help staff polling stations. It's unclear how many Guard members be needed at this time.

Those working at the polls will be dressed in civilian clothes and will be doing the same duties as traditional poll workers. The guard members will receive the same training as other poll workers. Due to law, they will need to serve at poll stations where they are also a resident of the county.

“We are Citizen Soldiers and Airmen who live and work in these same communities,” Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general said in a press release. “We are neighbors helping neighbors, and our Soldiers and Airmen span every community in Wisconsin. Clerks and elections officials are having a hard time finding volunteers to work at the polls so our democratic process can play out, and we’re honored to assist and help ease some of the staffing needs.”

The Guard is working with the Election Commission on logistics to make sure the primary locations will have hand sanitizer, wipes and other supplies. 

In order to reduce face-to-face interactions amid social distancing guidelines, Wisconsin residents are urged to vote with an absentee ballot, which can be requested until 5 p.m. Thursday, April 2 at MyVote.wi.gov.